Thick cloud hampers search for missing Indonesia plane

Head of Indonesia's search and rescue agency Bambang Soelistyo holds a map showing search coordinates for a missing Aviastar plane during a news conference in Makassar, South Sulawesi province on October 3, 2015.
PHOTO: Reuters

MAKASSAR, Indonesia - Thick cloud and mountainous terrain hampered the second day of a search for a plane carrying 10 people which went missing on Indonesia's Sulawesi island, an official said Sunday.

The Aviastar Twin Otter DHC-6 aircraft carrying four adult passengers, three children and three crew lost contact with air traffic control shortly after taking off from the remote Masamba airport in North Luwu regency en route for the provincial capital Makassar on Friday.

An air and land search involving 250 personnel including troops and police was suspended Sunday due to challenging terrain, the head of Indonesia's search and rescue agency Bambang Soelistyo told reporters.

Two military helicopters and two planes from the airline were used to search the beaches and mountains, he added.

"The search area is mountainous and densely forested with many steep ravines. The clouds today were also thick. We ended the search today without a favourable result. The plane has not been located," Soelistyo said.

"We will resume our search tomorrow, focusing our efforts at sea. Usually by the third day, if the plane crashed at sea, debris could be found floating," he added.

Aviastar Mandiri is an Indonesian domestic passenger airline.

The country has a poor aviation safety record and has suffered major disasters in recent months, including a plane which crashed on a remote mountain in Oksibil in Papua in August, killing all 54 people on board.

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